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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/C.3/55/SR.29
20 October 2000

General Assembly
Fifty-fifth session
Official Records




Third Committee
Summary record of the 29th meeting
Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 20 October 2000, at 10 a.m.


Chairman:Mrs. Gittens-Joseph................................... (Trinidad and Tobago)


Contents

Agenda item 112: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued)

Agenda item 113: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued)

The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.


Agenda item 112: Elimination of racism and racial discrimination (continued) (A/55/18 (Suppl. No. 18) and Add.1, A/55/203, A/55/266, A/55/285, A/55/304, A/55/307, A/55/459 and A/C.3/55/L.20)

Agenda item 113: Right of peoples to self-determination (continued) (A/55/176 and Add. 1, A/55/334)

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4. Mr. Kumalo (South Africa), ...

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6. With respect to agenda item 113, it was worth reiterating that the right to self-determination was a fundamental human right which peoples under colonial or alien domination should be free to exercise. It was incumbent upon all Member States to discharge their obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, the resolutions of the General Assembly and the Security Council, international humanitarian law and all international instruments. SADC deplored the outbreak of violence that had recently occurred following a visit by the leader of the Likud Party to an Islamic holy place. It called upon the Government of Israel to exercise restraint and avoid the disproportionate use of force to quell the violence. The agreement reached by the parties at the Sharm al-Sheikh Summit should help defuse tensions and create the conditions necessary for the resumption of the Middle East peace process.

7. Mr. Al-Qahtani (United Arab Emirates) said that it was incumbent upon all Governments and peoples to combat racial discrimination by all means at their disposal, including the enactment of legislation, the launching of investigations, the dissemination of information, education and so on. The Government of Israel was not fulfilling its obligations in that connection, inasmuch as ever since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, it had systematically practised flagrant racial discrimination against the Palestinians. A recent terrible illustration, one among many, had been the deliberate killing of a 12-year-old boy by Israeli soldiers during a violent clash with Palestinian demonstrators. The boy had been attempting only to protect himself, as had been apparent from the television coverage of the incident. In view of the increasingly serious situation in Palestine, the international community must abandon its double standard and intervene to compel Israel to honour its obligations as a Member of the United Nations, and to allow the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination and establish a State.

8. Ms. Frankel (Israel) said that the year 2000 had marked the end of a century which had witnessed appalling acts of racism and religious hatred. Evidently the lessons of the Holocaust had not yet been learned, for each passing day brought further victims of xenophobia, racial discrimination, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Another legacy of the twentieth century had been the development of new and more rapid means of transport, which had ushered in an era of great human movement, bringing people into contact with others who were culturally very different from themselves. At the same time, new information technologies, notably the Internet, kept the international community instantaneously informed about acts of racism, and could thus play a beneficial role by inculcating respect for different cultures, especially among young people. The Internet must be used to disseminate educational programmes, but it was important to make sure that it was not used for purposes of racist propaganda. Preparatory meetings for the forthcoming World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance should deal with such issues.
9. In response to the statement made by the Observer for Palestine with reference to agenda item 110 (Promotion and protection of the rights of children), she would say only that 99 per cent of the Palestinians in the occupied territories lived under the rule of the Palestinian Authority, and, consequently, any complaints should be addressed to that body. Israel wanted nothing more than to achieve a just and lasting peace with its Palestinian neighbours, as had been reflected in the declaration issued at the conclusion of the Sharm al-Sheikh Summit.

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19. Ms. De Armas García (Cuba) ...

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20. The right of peoples to exercise self-determination was a sine qua non of the exercise of other fundamental rights. Under conditions of foreign domination and occupation, respect for human rights must be meaningless. Accordingly, her delegation wished to reaffirm its unreserved solidarity with the Palestinian people in its just struggle for the creation of an independent, sovereign State with East Jerusalem as its capital, and for the restitution of all the occupied Arab territories.

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34. Mr. Ahmad (Pakistan) ...

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36. The expectation that the Palestinian people, too, would soon realize their right to self-determination had received a serious setback with the outbreak of violence which had resulted in the loss of many lives. On behalf of the Government and the people of Pakistan, his delegation wished to extend its sincere condolences to the bereaved families.

37. The provocative visit to the Haram al-Sharif on 28 September 2000 and the tragic events that had followed had put the entire Middle East peace process in serious jeopardy. However, the understandings reached by the parties at the Sharm al-Sheikh Summit were encouraging. It was to be hoped that the beginning made in Sharm al-Sheikh would lead not only to resumption of the peace process, but also to a comprehensive settlement of the Palestine issue on the basis of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

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45. Mr. Cordeiro (Angola) ...

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47. All peoples still living under colonial and foreign domination had the right of self-determination, and consequently his delegation was pleased at the historic accomplishment that had given the people of East Timor success in exercising their right to self-determination. The recent violence in the Middle East was regrettable; it was to be hoped that the attempts toward peace made at Sharm al-Sheikh would promote a resumption of peace negotiations. ...

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48. Ms. Barghouti (Observer for Palestine) said that, most regrettably, the hope and expectation that the people of Palestine would finally be able to exercise its fundamental, inalienable right to self-determination had been dashed once more. Yet only recently, on 8 September 2000, world leaders had adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration, in which they had reaffirmed their dedication to the resolution of disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, and had reaffirmed the right to self-determination of peoples which remained under colonial domination and foreign occupation.

49. The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination had been on the agenda of the United Nations for a long time. Since 1949, the General Assembly had adopted many resolution on the question of Palestine, including the right of the Palestinians to self-determination. Recently, furthermore, it had taken a more positive step by linking that right to the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent State. In doing so, it had reaffirmed the position of the international community, which held that the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people was necessary to enable it to determine its political and national destiny, free from oppression.

50. Her delegation emphasized that the national rights of the Palestinian people must be recognized, including, first and foremost, the right to self-determination and the legitimate right to establish an independent State with Jerusalem as its capital. At the current critical period, serious action was required towards the realization of that objective.

51. Israel was still pursuing its oppressive policies and practices, and continuing to create new facts on the ground in order to strengthen, instead of ending, its subjugation and occupation, by building and expanding settlements, sealing off areas in the occupied territory and confiscating Palestinian land. On top of that, new acts of violence were being committed by the Israeli army, which since 28 September 2000 had been waging a campaign of aggression against the Palestinian people that had resulted in more than 100 killings and more than 3000 injuries.

52. In 1999, at the fifty-fourth session, her delegation had expressed the hope that the peace process would soon culminate in a peace treaty between the State of Palestine and Israel, resulting in a just and lasting peace in the entire region. Unfortunately, the situation had deteriorated considerably since that time. The indiscriminate and excessive use of force, the killing of Palestinian civilians and the dehumanization of the Palestinian population were measures that threatened not only regional peace and stability, but the foundations of the peace process itself. It was obvious that Israel was using the peace process to continue its occupation.

53. Her delegation remained committed to the peace process and to the implementation of all signed agreements. Israel must realize that after more than half a century of suffering and injustice, the Palestinian people would not accept anything less than full recognition and respect of their legitimate rights.

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62. Mr. Ahmed (Bangladesh) ...

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64. ... At its fifty-fourth session, the General Assembly had reaffirmed the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and had expressed the hope that that right would soon be exercised. But the recent developments were a source of great concern. The cycle of violence must be stopped. His delegation welcomed the agreement reached at the Sharm al-Sheikh meeting, and hoped that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace would be established where the legitimate right of the Palestinian people could be fulfilled.

65. Mr. Salman (Iraq) said that while the United Nations had creditably opposed the apartheid regime, the international community was still confronted with the serious problem of racism and racial discrimination in new forms that were based on culture, nationalism, religion or race and were frequently directed against vulnerable groups such as immigrant workers, refugees or religious minorities. Differences between groups were not regarded as a source of cultural enrichment and complementarity, but rather tended to produce a response of rejection, discrimination and marginalization, especially in the developed countries, which were experiencing a rise in new forms of racism related to the growth of racist and neo-Nazi groups. It was especially alarming that anti-Muslim and anti-Arab racist propaganda and hate material were being disseminated by some media sources. In the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in particular, Jewish organizations were using the Internet for that purpose, as the Secretary-General had stated in his note entitled “Measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. The note in question gave the names of anti-Arab Web sites, most of which were maintained by Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Defence League, Kahane Homepage (named after Rabbi Kahane), The Twelve Tribes of Israel, Nations of Islam and Blacks and Jews Newspage.

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71. Ms. Krichene (Tunisia) said that at the dawn of the new millennium, the international community cherished the hope that peace and fraternity would be established among the world’s peoples. It was time for peoples still suffering under the yoke of colonialism to attain emancipation and exercise, at last, their right to self-determination. The United Nations had contributed substantially to the task of promoting the right of peoples to self-determination, but the Organization’s mission in that connection would be complete only when all the peoples of the world that were still subject to foreign domination had won their freedom. The Palestinian people had recently been targeted in attacks that had blindly struck down children and women, in total disregard of the most elementary humanitarian principles. It was essential for the provisions of the relevant international agreements, notably the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to be duly applied. Her delegation hoped that the agreement reached at Sharm al-Sheikh would lead to the resumption of negotiations between the parties on the basis of the relevant Security Council resolutions, including, in particular, resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973), and the principle of the return of land in exchange for peace, until the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people had been fully realized, especially with respect to the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on its national territory with Jerusalem as its capital.

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The meeting rose at 12.40 p.m.



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